I can’t say that I am not a morning person, because I do like the morning time. In fact, my absolute favorite time to be in the garden is super early in the morning just after the sun comes up. It’s so dang quiet! Which is a very rare thing around here. The air is cool and crisp, and it smells …. fresh.
But 7 years ago, Farmer and I started a family. Since then, I have either been pregnant, nursing, or just plain exhausted from chasing the little ones around all day. So morning time is … well …. spent laying in bed with my eyes shut tight until I can no longer ignore the mom, mom, mom, mom, mom laying on the pillow next to me.
But I have learned that no matter how tired I may be, and no matter how many kids I have hanging on my arms, there is one thing I absolutely MUST do in my garden before 7:00 AM.
And that is HARVEST YOUR STUFF!
I think some people don’t realize just how important this is. Think for a moment if your local grocery store kept their romaine lettuce on a shelf next to the cereal instead of in it’s nice little refrigerated section. What do you think it would look like? Taste like? Feel like ….. ew!
Now how about they put their cucumbers inside the warmer in their deli section to cook all day? You gonna pay for those? I’m not!
That is what the sun is doing to your garden! In the middle of the day, your plants are STRESSED OUT! All they can think about is eating all that sunshine and drinking up whatever water is left in the soil. Now you go out around 3:00 PM and chop off one of it’s limbs for your dinner and think nothing of it. Meanwhile, that plant is crying, and whatever vegetable you just harvested is squishy and sad.
This is ESPECIALLY important if you are selling your produce. The shelf life of your bounty will go down substantially if you pick it in the heat of the day. It was already breaking down before you picked it! And I would be willing to bet that you don’t want to show up to the farmer’s market with droopy raspberries, or mushy tomatoes.
Now I understand that this is not possible 100% of the time. And I am not saying that you can NEVER pick from your garden in the middle of the day. Of course you can! That’s like the best part of having a garden. Being able to walk outside and eat peas straight from the plant, or have a fresh tomato sandwich for your afternoon snack! All I am saying …. no make that begging … is that you make it a habit to pick the bulk of your produce in the early morning as often as possible. Your veggies will be crisper, your fruit will be sweeter, and EVERYTHING will last a whole heck of a lot longer.
Thanks for listening to me rant!